Designs for the Better World


Akerun – Smart Lock Robot

Akerun is a smart lock system that enables you to unlock the door when you get close to it (with your smartphone with you) and share the key ‘digitally’ with specific people. Installation is simple; no need to detach the thumb turn.

I made the concept design of Akerun pretty quickly (and the websites, too).

Akerun-smart lock robot

Akerun-smart lock robot

Akerun-smart lock robot

Akerun-smart lock robot

Akerun-smart lock robot

Akerun-smart lock robot

Akerun-smart lock robot



WeOn Glasses Concept Designs Updates

WeON Glasses are the first-ever glasses — optical or sunglasses — which interact with your smartphone or tablet. They offer you several functions, such as notifications, remote control, alerts in case of loss and customization.


As I mentioned in my previous post, I started concept designs for the second version of WeOn Glasses (the name has been changed from ion glasses). WeOn Glasses were on display on the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona and my designs have also been featured on TV. Here are some concept designs I worked on so far.



Won reddot design award: best of the best!


I won the red dot award: design concept 2013 and this time it’s ‘best of the best’ prize! The concept itself is the one I posted on this blog a few years ago, but I revised it based on some positive feedback from the readers for more practical use. I really appreciate everyone who helped this to happen. It’s now live on the red dot’s website.

Infographic Coins are a set of coins whose values are easily recognized by anyone. By utilizing shapes of pie graphs, which are widely used around the world by a variety of ages of people, one can instantly figure out how much these infographic coins are worth. One more important aspect of this concept is that by making the empty space in a pie chart, it saves the usage of materials, which is environmentally friendly.

If I have a chance, I want to mention the reason why I chose this kind of non-digital, old fashioned concept this time somewhere.





looking glassMy previous work that won the red dot concept award in 2009

‘Think-Positive’ Battery Icon



Marco – Cleverest Digital Pet (Concept) That Loves You

Among so many gadgets that know you, which one of them loves you?




Knows stuff around you

Smartens non-smart items

Ever wished you could do the ‘Search” for your lost item in the real world? Marco sees you and your room, remembers the locations of your belongings where Marco last saw them. Let Marco ‘sniff’ your car key to get him to memorize and trace it. When you lose it, ask him where it is. Marco takes you to the location and lets you know with his laser pointer. Nobody wants to plug everything to the internet. With Marco, you won’t need to.

marco3_image8bMake the item you want Marco to memorize close enough for him to ‘sniff’ it.

room_image2Marco points out the location of the item with his laser pointer.

Motion User Interface

Does more than words

Marco loves you. He does more than just ‘shows’ or ‘says’ that he does, but he moves his body to express his feelings. Also with his cute movements, Marco lets you know alerts and notifications. The movements of Marco depend on the types and importance of the alerts and notifications. Getting an email from your girlfriend with many angry exclamation marks, having a squall in 5 minutes, forgetting your meeting appointment, you notice it with Marco trying to tell you are having a situation.
Marco also recognizes your simple gestures and voice commands.

marco3_image10With its self-balancing system, Marco makes smooth and cute movements for 360 degrees.

room2_image1When you get home after a long absense, Marco will frantically welcome you.

Monitor Your House

When you are away

Yes, you can see your room through Marco with your smartphone when you are away. But, Marco is not just a moving monitor. He is clever enough to answer your verbal questions, such as “Did I turn off the heater?” Of course he makes a phone call for you right after you leave home, “you forgot to lock the door!”.
You can watch and talk with your kids at home when you are away. How about enjoying chasing your kid by remote-controlling Marco?

room2_image2bMarco not just waits for you alone at home. See things at home when you are away with his eyes, moving around with his foot.

marco_babyCan’t wait to see your little baby at home? You can not only see her, but also play with her.

Behaves Like a Pet & More

Apps for characters & skills

Customize the settings to make Marco behave the way you like it, but if you want it to do more tricks, download apps! Hip hop dance, little puppy tricks, snake movements, etc. You can also make settings on how he responds to certain gestures. Based on your choice, Marco will even hide and makes a surprise appearance on your birthday!
Download apps to enjoy AR games. See your Marco through your smartphone and have fun with games both in the digital and physical worlds!

marco3_image7bHave more fun by letting Marco move along with your gestures.

marco_personaThe personality of Marco is up to your choice.



Slam Down the Receiver with iPhone (Concept)

Miss the action of slamming down the receiver when I’m so mad I don’t want to talk any more on the phone. So how about a fast-slide-to-slam-down-receiver slider? It’d be nice if there was a slamming sound when I hang up. But I hope there won’t be a chance to get mad enough to use this..

Sora – Simple Clock Concept

A clock for your desk.

There’s a magnet on the back of the clock, so it stays on the v-shaped stand.

The stand has 7 days printed on it.

Hide the other days with the clock so that only the day of today is revealed.

Only 3 days are printed on one side (I couldn’t arrange more than that), so how about using the back side of the stand for Sunday?

It’s a clock that changes its style every day.

Future AI Search?

Since Siri gives you clever replies, why not the same for search engines in their ‘suggest’ lines?

Akebono Room Lamp Concepts

This set of concepts was actually more than 2 years old. I decided to make a post of it before it’s buried under other new ideas.

Presentation PDF

Akebono Lamp Set Concept Introduction

“Makurano-Soshi” is an essay written by Sei-Shonagon, a little more than 1,000 years ago in Japan. The simple and succinct description of it impresses us with its deeply analyzed beauty in a daily life. The essay is referred to as one of the jewels of literature written in the Heian Period. It is so popular that almost all the Japanese people know it and are expected to learn it by heart, the first chart of the essay at school. Therefore, most of Japanese adults still remember at least the first few sentences.

This set of room lamps, “Akebono” has the concept of the beauty of the four seasons described by the writer of Makurano-Soshi.

“Akebono” or dawn in spring
“Yoru” or night in summer
“Yugure” or evening in autumn
“Tsutomete” or early morning in winter

Each of the beauty is crisply depicted with very impressive items found only in the season. There are four lamps with the same concepts in this set. The very reason of choosing these concepts is to bring what is happening outside into the house and to enable those most beautiful moments to be everlasting.
Essentially I tried to bring back:

  • the subtle feeling of happiness that is rarely felt in busy modern daily lives
  • the comfort you can get after long patience
  • Those feelings have long disappeared thanks to technologies that instantly satisfy out needs. I would be delighted if I could experience the same feeling by using the lamps.

    “Akebono” floor lamp

    Mountain Skyline at sunrise in Spring

    春は、あけぼの。やうやう白くなりゆく山ぎは 少し明りて紫だちたる雲の細くたなびきたる。
    “In spring, the dawn with mountain skylines gradually whitening along with thin lines of purple clouds floating in the sky.”

    The mountain rim is expressed by the curved frame. It is lit by a gentle light behind it, just like a mountain at sunrise. In order to see the real view of this, you have to patiently wait for the sun rise in the cold.
    It is a floor lamp used against or close to a wall. The light is thrown towards the wall behind it, so you can see the wall lit upwards, with the shade of a curved body. By using a few of this lamp put side by side, you can enjoy a panoramic view of mountains.

    “Yoru” lamp stand

    Full Moon on a Lake in Summer

    “In summer, the night. Needless to say a full moonlit night.”

    As can be easily imagined, this represents the moon. Seen from right in front of it, it looks just like the crescent, but you can also see “earthshine”, which is sunlight reflected from the earth, causing the dark side of the crescent dimly visible. It is also known as “the old moon in the new moon’s arms” and this bright and dark combination of the lights makes the moon even more beautiful.
    This dark side of the lamp is made slightly transparent so that it lights up very dimly just like the earthshine. In the modern world it is rare to take time looking up at the moon, much less this dimly lit part of it, but in ancient Japan, it must have been very often watched and fully enjoyed. This lamp brings the precious evening moment to your room.

    “Yugure” floor lamp

    Autumn sunset melting into the earth

    “In autumn, the evening of a sinking sun approaching very close to mountain lines.”

    The sunset in autumn is as red as the sun can be. When it approaches the horizon, it looks like the sun is melting into the earth. With its shape like a half melting ball, this lamp embodies the beauty of the sunset at the same moment. The lamp shade is made of opaque acrylic, but towards the bottom, it gradually becomes transparent. With this shade, the light reaches far longer around the lamp than towards above, so when the lamp is lit, it looks as if the shining ball is sinking into the floor, leaving the floor around brightly lit. The other secret of this brightness is the curved cylinder shaped mirror under the light bulb in the shade, which efficiently reflects the light from the light bulb and throws back towards sides.

    “Tsutomete” lamps

    Charcoal Fire Warmth in early winter morning

    “In winter, the early morning. Falling snow makes us speechless. It perfectly fits this season to see a whitest frost, or people hastening to carry charcoals with freshly built fires in the braziers.”

    A brazier, which was widely used in ancient Japan in winter to warm up a room, has charcoals on it. The brightly but gently burning red and orange charcoal was the only warmth back then. The atmosphere it creates can never felt by a modern heater that instantly heats up to the temperature you adjust.
    This lamp revives the reddish orange light just like a charcoal does: clumsily tinted in a corner as if it finally caught fire.

    Let it swim

    It’s been so hot that I even want this Google street view guy to swim in the ocean, just like this.

    URL-Shortening Gesture Concept

    I need this function by yesterday.

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    Works for Tokyo Motor Show 2011

    As I tweeted, I worked on a lot of concept designs for the movies of AGC (Asahi Glass Company) and TOYOTA for Tokyo Motor Show 2011.


    Movie by AGC: Glass Can Change The World

    Concept Car

    Dashboard UI

    Smart House

    UI for Glass Fridge / Energy Management Pane

    Roll-up Newspaper / Newspaper Graphic


    Car Dashboard Mockup Panel Screens

    It was my first time ever to design a car and a robot, but I had lots of fun making them.
    Asahi Glass now introduces their great technologies in a booth for “Smart Mobility City 2011” in Tokyo Motor Show.


    TOYOTA Smart Mobility City 2011 Concept Movie

    (I’ll post the movie when it’s officially uploaded on YouTube. This is the old version.)

    One of my mobile phone concepts “Glassy Glass” was again picked up and used in the movie.

    Dial to Unlock (Concept)

    Please email me if there’s anybody who wants to develop this app.
    I have other more practical ideas waiting to be developed!

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    See also the similar previous post.

    Kaya – Future Microwave Oven Concept

    I’m not a cook, but I know what the food should be like for me to eat. I know it shouldn’t be burned or it should be defrosted. I just don’t know exactly how long it should be cooked. I wish there were a microwave oven like this that ‘shows” me what the food will be like after cooking.

    But first, I wish a microwave oven was movable so that it could get close to the table when necessary.

    Put a dish in it and this oven tells what kinds of foods are in it.

    Adjust the ‘look’ of the food displayed on the glass by dragging the button. You can control the cooking time while looking at what it will be like after cooking the adjusted length of time. You’ll know exactly when it boils or burns.

    Inspired by a dome tray when I was watching Ratatouille.

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    Koriko – iPhone Dock Concept

    I want an iPhone dock that can change its forms reflecting various kinds of notifications needing attention as well as some simple controls for applications. The feelings you can get with that kind of tangible output & input are what touchscreen lacks.

    Koriko is a simple iPhone stand with speakers and a flexible long arm (tail?).

    Notifications are represented with the tail forming simple shapes.

    When a song is played, it works as music control buttons you can push directly.

    It not only changes forms, but also makes certain movements for some time. It waves good-bye when you turn it off.

    There are so many possible other applications that would work with Koriko. It would be really fun to see it working.

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    Future Mobile Device Sketches – URSLA & BERTHA

    URSLA is a future pendant that emits 3D projections in the air.
    Synced with the mobile phone, notifications such as emails, phone calls, schedule reminders, etc. appear right in front of you for a few seconds.

    BERTHA is a future mobile phone that works with URSLA.
    3D projections from the pendant can be ‘captured’ in the air with this phone to see what the notification is about in detail on the screen. Yes, just like getting an item box in Mario Kart!

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    Fio is a champaign glass with 4 horizontal lines marked on the glass. When making a toast, make the liquid inside at one of the lines so that the sounds when the glasses meet are in harmony. Making a toast will be much more fun and I’m sure we’ll clink the glasses more than twice.



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    Mobile Phone Sketch: Von

    Von is a mobile phone that is sensitive to sound, especially the knocking sound when it’s hit. It looks like a piece of xylophone. It’s almost as tall as an iPhone, but it’s narrower.

    Knock it to check if you have unread emails or new phone messages. If you do, Von knocks back. The knocking sound varies according to the kind of the message (email or phone).

    Shake it to see if you have unread RSS feeds or Tweets. The more unread items there are, the more it rattles. Remember when you were a kid, you shook a box of candy to see how many were left. I wanted to bring back that small happy moment with this device.

    Keep tapping it on the rhythm of your favorite song. After a few seconds, it detects what song you’re tapping. Then it starts playing the song along the tap.

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    Slide to …

    I was really impressed with the idea of the New MIUI Lockscreen. So I thought of something fun myself. Note that this is a concept.

    Polaroid iPhone Dock Concept

    I wish there were an iPhone dock that instantly prints out the photo you take.

    If you upload the photo to a website, you can add an QR code for the url on the back. For a geo-tagged photo, you can also include the map to show where the photo was taken.
    Yes, I’m one of those people who still relish the feel (and smell) of photos.

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    Mobile Phone Sketch: Zimmer

    This post is to tell all of you that I’m OK.

    After the tragic magnitude 9.0 earthquake hit Japan on March 11th, I’ve received many many messages from around the globe asking how I was or even if I was alive. As I tweeted about my situation, I’m doing fine. I truly appreciate all your considerations not only for me but for those who have been badly affected by the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear power plant issues. I’ll keep tweeting how I’m doing on my Twitter.

    Also I wanted to tell you that Japan will get back to its feet for sure. Currently I’m going through many inconveniences that I have never experienced in my life (lack of water, gasoline, vegetables, power etc. etc.), so I’ll be able to think of ideas to overcome those difficulties. But for now, let me show you sketches I’ve been making since before the earthquake. It’s a mobile phone concept named Zimmer. (There’s nothing new or innovative here this time.)

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    User Interface Concept: Universal Remote Controller

    Lamp, stereo, TV, air conditioner, heater… Just point at it on the transparent screen and select the menu item you want to make a change to (speaker volume, channels, brightness, etc.).

    A charging stand with a magnet so the remote can stand on a table.

    Of course, you can use it for an internet TV.

    Switching channels.

    Also visit the other series of this gadget.

    User Interface Concept: Air Conditioner
    User Interface Concept: Air Conditioner

    User Interface Concept: Light Switch
    User Interface Concept: Light Switch

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    Klipp — Future Camera Concept

    I was really impressed with the WVIL camera shown in CES 2011 and I’m very much inspired by the concept. I was wondering what it would be like if there were a WVIL for amateurs. So I made it smaller and thinner. The lens has a clip on its back so that you can place it on various places. No matter where you clip it, the lens sends the images to the screen wirelessly.

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    Peel –Moving Notifier Concept

    Basically it’s a clock.

    It’s wirelessly connected to your PC and mobile phone; your calendar, schedule, email account are synced.
    You get a notification with a peeled screen on a face.

    The more serious the thing is, the wider it’s peeled.

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